How to Trim Hydrangeas

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15 Jul 2022

By Michael Jacobson

Hydrangeas are much-loved shrubs, known for their striking flower heads that come in a variety of colors from pastel blue to vibrant pink. They also come in a variety of shapes - from large balls to cones, meaning there really is a type of hydrangea to suit every garden. 

To get the best out of your shrubs and ensure they can survive the winter, you’ll need to learn how to trim hydrangeas. While growing hydrangeas is fairly simple, your efforts may be wasted if you don’t follow through with pruning them correctly. 

We’ve put together a complete beginner's guide to trimming hydrangeas, so you can keep them healthy and they bloom year after year.

Why should you trim hydrangeas?

Trimming or pruning hydrangeas helps to prevent them from becoming congested by channeling the plants’ energy into producing large blooms and stronger growth. Trimming hydrangeas also helps to control their size and improve their shape, to keep your garden looking tidy and pleasing to the eye. Pruning can also help to remove any dead or diseased portions of the plant.

When is the best time to trim hydrangeas?

Most hydrangeas should be pruned in late winter or early spring after their flower heads have been left on over winter to protect the buds beneath. The exception to this rule is climbing hydrangeas which are pruned in summer after they’ve flowered.

What happens if you don’t trim hydrangeas?

While hydrangeas don’t need to be trimmed, a lack of pruning can affect their appearance. If you don’t trim your hydrangeas the flowers will become smaller and less visible and their shape will resemble a tangled mass of woody stems. If you find your hydrangeas are not blooming, not enough pruning is often the reason. 

If you’re struggling to find time to prune your hydrangeas thoroughly, you can simply clean up the plant by removing dead branches and deadheading blooms that have died.

Regularly pruning your hydrangeas will help to maintain their shape and encourage new growth and healthier flowers.

Trimming hydrangeas: step by step

Trimming hydrangeas can keep them looking vibrant and blooming for years to come. With these tips, you’ll be an expert at trimming hydrangeas in no time. Here’s how to trim hydrangeas, step by step:

Step #1: The right tools

The best place to start with pruning hydrangeas, like with all pruning, is with a sharp, clean pair of gardening tools. This will create a clean cut and will help to avoid infection. 

Step #2: Last year’s flowerheads

Start by removing old flowerheads to just above a pair of buds. Cut carefully using the tips of your secateurs as hydrangea buds can be easily knocked off. If the plant has several stems, cut at an angle between the buds to remove one of the pair. This will help to direct growth into one shoot rather than two and prevent the hydrangea from becoming congested.

Step #3: Remove old stems

If you notice any thin, weak stems around the plant’s base, remove one or two of the oldest stems from as low down as possible to encourage new shoots. These will then grow over the next few years. If your plant is overgrown, cut some of the stems right down to the base.

Step #4: Trim the shape

Additional branches can be lightly trimmed where you choose to, to help maintain the rounded shape of the plant. This light pruning will produce a large shrub with many small flower heads. 

After you’ve finished pruning your hydrangeas, mulch the plant with well-rotted manure or compost.

Buy beautiful hydrangeas online with French Florist for same-day local delivery.

Love hydrangeas but don’t fancy growing them yourself? We’ve got you covered. 

Our local team of flower experts designs every arrangement with time and care, ensuring they pass strict quality control every time. We’ve partnered with the best flower farms in the world to ensure we source only the best quality blooms. That way, you’ll be wowed by your hydrangea bouquet every time - to bring a smile to your face, or as a gift to a loved one. We don’t settle for anything less.

Buy beautiful hydrangeas online with French Florist - we deliver nationwide and offer same-day local delivery.


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